Horcoff signs six-year contract extension

Ian WilsonCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2008

The Edmonton Oilers have locked up All Star center Shawn Horcoff by inking him to a six-year contract extension.

The 6'1", 204-lb. native of Trail, B.C. will earn $33 million over the course of the contract, averaging $5.5 million per season.

“This is a great day for myself and my family.  Edmonton is a great city and one that has embraced us in every way possible.  I’ve spent my entire career with the Oilers and I’m thrilled about the direction we are heading in, led by our new owner Daryl Katz and General Manager Kevin Lowe," said Horcoff in a press release. "I’d like to thank the Edmonton Oilers and our great fans for making this possible.”

Horcoff, 29, is entering his 9th NHL season and the last year of a three-year deal. He recorded 50 points in 53 games last year, earning him a spot in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the season.

Oilers General Manager Kevin Lowe said Horcoff  "has proven himself as one of the premier players in the National Hockey League and has been and will continue to be an integral part of our organization moving forward."

The 99th overall pick of the Oilers in 1998, Horcoff was a big part of the team's 2006 post-season success, which saw Edmonton come up just short to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Horcoff had 19 points during that playoff run.

Though he has often been criticized by Oiler fans for not being an elite first-line center, Horcoff put up a career high 22 goals and 73 points in 2005-06 and before he was injured last season he was on pace for a career-best 79 points.

He is also one of the league's premier defensive forwards and relishes the role of shutting down the top players in the NHL.

Horcoff, a fitness fanatic who has been compared to Chris Chelios in terms of his off-ice preparation, was also busy this off-season helping the Oilers try to land free agent stud Marian Hossa.

Hossa eventually signed with Detroit, but Horcoff - who played with Hossa in Sweden - made several calls on the Oilers behalf to lure him to Edmonton.

Lowe, meanwhile, was relieved to get the extension done well before Horcoff became an unrestricted free agent.

"By being proactive with this deal, we avoid being in a situation where Shawn could become an unrestricted free agent after next season and the unknown free agency can bring to the organization," he said. 

"Having him under contract long-term is something that has been on our radar for a long time and we are extremely pleased to finalize this deal.”